How Does Local SEO Work?

The internet has widely been seen as a way for businesses to reach a global audience. What is often ignored is that it is also a way for businesses to more effectively reach potential consumers within their vicinity. Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful tool that is neglected as businesses chase far-flung consumers. Yet, mobile searches qualified by the phrase, “near me” have grown by 900%. Consumers are hungry for information about goods and services near them. That’s an opportunity that you cannot afford to miss. 

Explaining Local SEO 

Local SEO refers to the optimization of a website for local search results. The web content, the link building and the on-page optimization are enriched with locally relevant content. This is particularly powerful if your business is naturally focused on serving your immediate community.

SEO itself refers to optimization of your website so that your page ranks improves. Local SEO is more granular. Rather than optimizing your content against the universe of service providers in your industry, you optimize based on your location. 

How Local SEO Works  

Optimizing your website with locally relevant content, links and on-page optimizations sends Google a signal that you want to attract people who are interested in receiving a service within a certain locale. Aside from this, local SEO is similar to “normal” SEO. So, when a person searches for goods and services with a qualifier “near me”, Google scans its page index for the best results and spits out pages based on its page ranking. The better optimize your content, the higher up the search results you will feature. 

Google uses various criteria to help it give the user the right results. It looks at NAP citations; the number of times users have “checked in” to a locale; the Google Maps ratings of businesses; the Google My Business keywords; online reviews and keywords; the amount of content shared on social media; and if your business has a Google My Business listing. 

  • Presence of your Google My Business listing

Google and other search engines also view the technical part of your website pages. They look through your LocalBusiness Schema Markup. This element makes it clear to Google that you’re a local business aiming for the areas you serve.

Why Local SEO Is Important

The best search engine optimization services will help you do well and rank highly on search results based on the above metrics. This means you will be able to capture more clients interested in goods and services in a particular location. Often, when people want to get goods and services in a particular location, they also want to get other goods and services there. In other words, they will have many reasons to be in that location. So you just may have a repeat customer on your hands. And, that person is likely to know other people in that area, meaning leads for you. 

You should pay more attention to customers who want to buy in your vicinity. These are low hanging fruits that you cannot afford to ignore. ALl kinds of businesses can increase sales by tapping into local SEO. A whopping 88% of consumers who use location qualifiers in their searches make related searches within a week.

How To End Your Business Legally

When your business has come to the end of its active life, you need to close off its operations legally. The Houston Chronicle tells us that the term for this process is known as “Dissolving”. Dissolving a company is a simple process for a sole proprietorship. However, as a business’s structure gets more complicated, it takes some more effort to ensure that a business stops existing as a legal entity. When dissolving your company, there are the legal steps you need to take:

  1. LLC/Corporation Action

The board of directors would draft and then approve the resolution to dissolve the corporation. When the resolution is tabled, the shareholders will vote on it. The results of the voting should be entered into the corporate record book. WHile not strictly necessary, documenting the overall decision and the attitude of members to the dissolution is recommended.

  1. Filing the Paperwork

Once the resolution for dissolution has passed, the company must file the documents to dissolve the company in the state where the business was initially incorporated. If the company operates across state borders, then each jurisdiction that the company is present in must also be advised of its dissolution. The requirements for the articles of dissolution vary from state to state. In some cases, a state legislature will require the business to settle claims and notify creditors before it files for dissolution. 

In other cases, these steps can come after the dissolution filing has already been submitted. Some states need the company to have tax clearance before they can file for dissolution. If the company owes taxes to the state, these must first be dealt with before it can file for dissolution.

It is of course preferable to sell the business instead of dissolving it, as this benefits all of the owners by providing some profit according to business broker and advisers at ExitAdviser. Having the proper documents needed for selling a business are just as crucial as if you were to dissolve it.

  1. Formalizing Business Closure at the Federal level

Even though the business is no longer in operation, its tax obligations don’t immediately stop. You need to formalize the closing with the IRS and with taxation officials at the state level. The IRS itself has provided a checklist for closing a business that allows you to check off each action as you complete it. Payroll reporting obligations will apply if you have workers that are registered under the company.

Most IRS forms will come with a checkbox that you can utilize if this is your last year in operation. You’re also required to make a note of the property you dispose of (and who it went to) as well as any like-kind exchanges that you’re undertaking on behalf of the business. 

Another point to remember is that your EIN remains valid, even though the business is shut down. The IRS does not recycle EIN numbers, and once you get one, that number remains associated with your business, even if that business is no longer in operation. Even if you stop using the EIN for tax filings, and no revenue is received from the business that the EIN is registered to, the IRS will never reassign the EIN to another company. Each newly filed company gets an EIN of their very own, and the number is a permanent record of their tax payments. If the business reincorporates at a later date, the EIN may be reused for tax payments.

  1. Notify Creditors of Closure

In all states, you are required to inform your creditors by mail about the business’s closure. The letter you send should state that the company intends to dissolve, a mailing address to send their claims to, all information included in a request, and the deadline for submitting the claim. Furthermore, the letter should state that claims not received by the deadline (usually 120 days after closure) will not be entertained. Some states require businesses that are closing to declare their intention to close in the local paper.

There are situations where your state may allow claims from creditors that your business isn’t aware of at the time of closure. In these cases, you may be required to place an advertisement in the local paper to let everyone know about the closure of the business. If you’re unsure about if your state allows for this situation, consult a local lawyer for insight into whether you need to advertise the closure.

  1. Settling Claims from Creditors

When the business has ceased operations, creditors may make claims on the business’s assets. Based on the level of debt that the company has to the creditor, he or she may be entitled to some of the business’s holdings’ best corporate meeting spaces. If you have to reject creditor claims, you must write to the creditor and outline why you had to reject their requests.

You don’t need to accept all of a creditor’s claims either. If a creditor has a claim, he or she may decide to settle for less of the claim, or a transfer of assets in lieu of any monetary payments owed to him or her. In most cases, a business can discuss the situation with the creditor and work out a settlement. In many cases, the settlement is likely to be in favor of the business.

  1. Distribution of Assets

When all of the creditors’ claims are settled, the business can distribute assets to company owners based on the share of their ownership. If a particular owner holds 80% of the company’s stock, for example, he or she is entitled to 80% of the assets left over after the dissolution of the company and payments to creditors have been settled.

All of a business’s asset distribution must be reported to the IRS as we noted above. If your business has multiple classes of stock, then the company bylaws will usually help determine how the remaining assets are to be distributed to the shareholders. 

Closing Up Shop

Sometimes, you need to shut down your business for any number of reasons. It happens to some owners from time to time. Protecting your personal assets from creditors is a crucial part of being a smart business owner. Don’t be discouraged. With time, you may chance upon a new idea that will be even better than the unsustainable one.

Improving the Banking Experience With Customer Value Management

For many, everyday interactions with their bank are a headache, to say the least. Poor customer service is “rampant” in major financial institutions, and according to experts like the Harvard Business Review, that’s because it’s profitable for them to hassle their clientele to the greatest degree allowable.

News like that might make any hope for improvement seem pointless, but beleaguered customers might be able to take solace in the potential benefits of customer value management. Applied to banking, it might be enough to spark some serious change to the entire customer experience. Here’s what you need to know.

Customer Value Management Explained

In short, customer value management (CVM) refers to the techniques that companies can use to manage the value journey of their customers — the series of steps they’ll take from initial contact to eventually doing business with the organization.

Successful CVM encompasses many elements, but one of the most critical, in this context, is how businesses are incentivized to build perceived value by providing quality to the customer. Let’s next take a look at ways in which this concept might be used to drive changes that add value to the customer experience in banking.

How Customer Value Management Intersects With Banking

One of the most effective ways in which banks can apply the ideas of CVM to their customer experience is through improved personalization. It’s well-known that the more tailored they perceive their treatment, the better customers typically perceive it to be. 

By getting away from a “one size fits all” approach and trying out some targeted interactions, banks can better engage their customers and help make the experience that much more enjoyable. For instance, personalized product and service recommendations delivered at critical points in the customer journey, or a precise cross-sell opportunity that aligns with a customer’s life goals can go a long way to making them feel valued.

There’s also the idea that proper implementation of CVM can help interactions between banks and customers feel less like cold transactions and more like friendly interactions. Garnering good will like that makes customers more likely to stick around and even recommend a financial institution to their friends and family.

Interactions like these don’t just arise from nothing, however. In order for customer value management to become effective, banks also need to prioritize data gathering and customer analytics. This will allow them to pinpoint the unique needs of their clientele, then start making the necessary adjustments to fulfill those needs with the type of care that positively impacts their overall experience.

The Importance of Balanced Inventory Management

As retail trends shift quickly, a small business may find itself an opportunity to leverage new technology and improve their supply web capabilities. Many new business owners typically focus on making the most sales as well as improving their ROI. With that being said, the task of properly fulfilling the sold products may not have as much an emphasis. In fact, only 18% of small organizations use inventory management systems. While tracking is possible using manual documents, it may not be as accurate. Without an accurate inventory, many problems can ensue with inventory levels that are too little or are carrying too much. Make sure to check out the resource below to understand more about the significance of using a balanced inventory management system.

Infographic created by WSI, a warehousing and distribution company

Criminal Risks That An Entrepreneur Faces When Starting a Business

A number of entrepreneurs realize that they face fines for breaking local business laws. These laws can differ depending on the city or even the street it is located on. What a number of entrepreneurs do not realize is that they could face criminal charges if found negligent in a number of areas. An entrepreneur has to be careful with the people that he surrounds himself with at the top of the company. These individuals can do the most damage if they are malicious or just not knowledgeable about laws/policies. The following are criminal risks that an entrepreneur faces when starting a business. 

Correctly Filing Taxes

The last thing that any business owner wants is to get involved with the IRS in a negative manner. Incorrectly filing taxes could be seen as tax evasion especially if the owner is keeping personal funds illegally in company accounts. Hiding income is quite common and can lead to a number of issues. There are a number of tax breaks but you will likely have to invest in a CPA to assist with this. The IRS is not an entity that will make very many mistakes so keep this in mind during tax season. 

Personal Spending of Investor Money 

There are so many stories of how investor money has been spent unwisely. This is not illegal although it can put an entrepreneur on an investor blacklist in a particular industry. You do not want to have to get a federal crime attorney due to breaking laws across state lines. Setting up meticulous systems to track the spending of the company is important. These might seem tedious at first but will be a lifesaver during tax season.

Fraud 

Fraud could be misrepresenting services or products. Products that are supposed to be sourced from one country but are knowingly purchased from another is a perfect example of fraud. There are some entrepreneurs that try to take shortcuts when it comes to product parts. There are certain countries that are not known for quality products but are far cheaper than buying them domestically. Fraud takes so many forms that it is important to be transparent with investors, employees, and management. 

Civil Issues Are Still A Huge Risk 

Criminal issues can be eliminated by simply having a compliance professional on your team. There are still going to be issues with terminated employees no matter how generous you have been in the past. Discrimination could be claimed and this is why it is important to document everything throughout all the employment of an individual. HR professionals can be a huge help as they understand what needs to be done to protect the company legally. Getting the right business insurance is important as the last thing you want is an accident to lead to the business closing. 

Criminal risks when you are an entrepreneur do exist whether you are using your own money to fund the business or not. Restrictions on businesses could increase so make sure you stay updated with all of this information going forward.

Where Should You Upload Slideshow Presentations in 2021?

The days of being limited to Microsoft PowerPoint for creating and viewing slideshows are long over. Millions of people around the world are still using PowerPoint for various reasons, and one of them is the reality of hard habits being hard to break. 

There is no question that PowerPoint is extremely useful and dynamic; the fact that it is part of the MS Office productivity suite makes it a trusted brand, but there are quite a few alternatives that you should consider using in 2021, particularly if you intend to share your presentation with large audiences.

When you want maximum exposure for your presentation, the native .PPT file format may not be the best choice. What you need is an online platform that turns your slideshow into an element that a reasonably modern browser can display; preferably HTML5, Java, or even streaming video. You also want your presentation to be suitable for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. With this in mind, here are some websites you may want to bookmark for the next time you need to create and display a presentation:

SlideServe

This website is excellent for uploading PowerPoint presentations that do not have multimedia elements such as videos or digital audio recordings. As long as the .PPT file you wish to upload is not larger than 300MB, SlideServe will accept it easily and for free. The conversion to HTML5 is done on the fly; you do not have to worry about responsive design because SlideServe is already optimized for mobile devices. The best practice for using this online service is to make the .PPT file simple. See this slideshow on SlideServe to get an idea of how the file should be formatted.

Prezi

As much as PowerPoint has advanced over the last few decades, it has not been able to shake off its reputation as being a tool for corporate use. You can see this corporate legacy in the various templates included with the software, and starting with a blank canvas does not exactly get the creative juices flowing. 

When your slideshow presentation needs to feature aesthetics or an artsy sensibility, your best bet is to use Prezi. This cloud-based slideshow maker has always been a big hit among designers, and you can understand this appeal when you browse through the themes and templates. Even if you start with a blank canvas, Prezi will give you prompts to make your presentation look great. If your target audience skews younger, Prezi is highly recommended.

Haiku Deck

If you are the kind of professional who believes that less is more, you will like what Haiku Deck has to offer. Simplicity and style are at the heart of Haiku Deck, a Software-as-a-Service solution that lets you create and share gorgeous presentations. Similar to Prezi, Haiku Deck has a strong aesthetic focus, but there is also a minimalist approach that prevents you from creating clutter in your slides. Of the three options discussed herein, this one is the trendiest for 2021.

Computer 101 for Absolute Beginners

While the number of people living in the developed world who have a fair understanding of the computer is quite high, there are those who are afraid of IT, which might be due to an elderly person’s reluctance to embrace digital technology. Equally, a young person might not yet have a good understanding of how computers work and with that in mind, here is some basic information to help you gain an understanding of how to use a computer.

  • The Operating System (OS) – This is the software package that actually runs the machine; the most common OS is Windows 10, while Apple have their own, which is iOS. There are others such as Unix, but the majority of users have either Microsoft’s Windows 10 or Apple’s iOS and the developer regularly issues updates, which you should always download and install, as these contain important security updates.
  • Computer Maintenance – If your computer is beginning to be slow and unresponsive, take it to a computer shop in Perth, or if there should be any issues, the local computer repair shop is always the best solution. If you use the machine on a daily basis, you will need to carry out a few functions such as cleaning out the registry and deleting old files. If you use Windows 10, empty the recycle bin now and then, to free up drive space and you can download a free computer cleaning program, which you can explore.
  • Saving Files – Work that you create can be saved in a number of formats, such as Microsoft Word or Ms PowerPoint and using Windows Explorer, you can create folders and move files around using copy-paste. There are at least 2 drives on a computer and ‘C’ drive is mainly for the OS, while ‘D’ drive is suitable for data storage. Computer drives are changing from the optical spinning disc to Solid State Drives (SSD), which are faster and more responsive. Click here for a great article on how you can make money online with freelance writing.
  • Cyber-Security – If you use the Internet, then you are always vulnerable to hackers and people who send viruses attached to emails; Note: Never open an email attachment if you do not know the sender, as this is a common way to infect a computer with a target virus. You are advised to install a free anti-virus application and update when required, as this will protect you against online hackers. Cyber-security really is a threat these days and you must take adequate precautions.
  • Back Up your Data – All images, videos and documents should be backed up on a regular basis; you can use a small USB memory stick and copy all of your personal data and keep the drive in a safe place. Without a back up, you might lose all of your data if your hard drive malfunctions and no one wants that to happen.

There is a lot of free resources online and you can learn a lot from a few hours research and should there be any issues, contact a local computer repair shop. The more you use your computer, the greater your knowledge will be and with free online tuition, you can easily develop your talents.

An Antivirus Can Protect Your Computer, But Can It Protect You

We rely a great deal on our various devices to help us to move through life more easily and none more so than desktop computers and laptops. We use them on a very regular basis in business life and in our social life as well. Our computers are an extension of ourselves and without them our world would surely grind to a halt. Many people talk about their panic when there are unable to use their laptops and smart phones due to some kind of bug or a virus on the device. We rely heavily on the many antivirus applications that are currently available to us, and these generally sort out the issues that allow us to continue on with our daily lives. While these excellent apps and add-ons may be able to help us in this situation, what happens when something else goes wrong with your life that technology cannot address.

Similar to your laptop, nobody knows what’s going to happen when you hit that return key or click on your mouse to get into a website that contains information that you would like to know about. One wrong click and you could end up being in a lot of trouble and the same applies to your life as well. Nobody knows what lies around the next corner never mind next week or next year and it is the unknown that we need to prepare for. If there is one thing that an antivirus program has taught us, it is the need to be prepared and so you need to contact www.rabbitfinance.com/life-insurance to make sure that you are prepared in the event that your life ends sooner than you thought it would. It is important to be prepared in the PC world and it is equally important to be involved in the real world. If you currently don’t have any kind of life insurance policy in place, then maybe the following benefits can encourage you to take the necessary first steps to protect yourself and your family.

* It addresses your debt & replaces income – We know we need an antivirus programme, butif you die unexpectedly then you’re leaving your family with all of your debts and with no income to address them. It is very likely that you have taken out a large mortgage on your home or business and these need to be paid for or family will be out on the streets in no time. They rely a great deal on the financial contribution that you make to the household and with you not here, what are they to do. Taking out the right life insurance policy will provide your family with essential funding that will help address all of the expenses that they will incur. This includes your burial costs and any outstanding bills that are owed.

* Provide your family with a step up – It was probably your intention to give your kids the best start in this life, but as you are no longer here this seems to be a pipe dream. However, if you take out the right life insurance policy then you are leaving the necessary finance that will allow your kids to get a strong start in their life. In many cases, the funds from your life insurance can be received as an inheritance and it may not be subject to government tax. It is essential that you name the beneficiaries on your policy so that the right people receive the money that you have put aside for them. To learn more about how life insurance works and all that it entails, have a look here.

Nobody else is going to protect you in this life except you, so make the necessary changes to protect yourself.

Customized Graduation Banners To Celebrate Your Kid’s Success

After working hard for years, your kid finally got highest marks and graduated with flying colors! It is that moment you have been waiting for when you see your kid succeed in life. After getting the diploma, your kid is waiting for that post-graduation party at home with friends, families and close ones. To kick start that graduation party, you need to head towards graduation banners right now.

The main goal of these banners is to welcome your kid in style and present them with their presents and shower them with love. You have cakes, great food and family members in the background, which will add more to your child’s happiness. However, the beauty of banners is hard to miss. You can customize the banners with the name and picture of your kid in his graduation outfit, which will make him proud of himself as well!

Now personalize the graduation banners:

You can try for the standard banners available in the market at cost-effective range, but that won’t add that oomph factor to the party. For adding that extra bit of spark, it is time to personalize the graduation banner to make it more his style. So, there are some simple steps that you need to follow and keep in mind while designing a graduation banner for your kid. Let’s get into those details now.

Creating a meaningful banner:

Graduation is no doubt an enormous achievement. So, you have to create a graduation banner, which will applaud your child’s hard work and commitment. Do not forget to create a section, which will highlight his accomplishments. For example, if your kid was a class valedictorian, then you might want to mention that in the banner. 

You can even add the sports he played and the subject he majored in as some of the other achievements, which will enhance the value of the banner even more.

Include graduation class:

If you are trying to customize the graduation banner, it is always vital to include the graduation class in the list. Whether you realize this point or not, the year that you have graduated will be the memory that you can fondly look back on and the same remains true for the graduate as well. So, this banner will help your kid to memorialize his achievement by adding the graduation class on it.  

The name of the educational institution:

In case you are designing banner for college-bound high school, then you might use some space to announce the name of the university or college that your kid plans to attend in upcoming fall. You can include the logo of the college or a photo of its mascot on the banner and let everyone know about it. You can even include the college graduate’s school too in there.

So, try to follow these simple steps and in no time, you will end up creating the most memorable graduation banner for your kid. He will be so proud of it once he sets his eyes on it.

Why You Need an Energy Audit

Energy costs money. Every drop of water, every invisible puff of gas and each kilowatt of electricity is a charge that will appear on your monthly bill.

1. What Is an Energy Audit

A home energy audit evaluates your home’s energy use. It evaluates your

  • electricity use and waste
  • Water use and waste
  • Gas usage and waste

An audit points out where are you losing energy and provides recommendations on how to increase energy efficiency within your home and thus save money. Therefore, if your energy bills are frustrating you, it’s a good idea to do an energy audit to see how you’re allocating energy use in the home and find ways to reduce your energy consumption along with the chunk of your budget that your energy bill eats up.

2. Benefits of an Energy Audit

In a nut shell, there are many benefits of energy audits from energy rebates, increased longevity of appliances and lower Vectren Energy utility costs. Let’s look into it.

Saving you money on bills

An energy audit allows you to inspect and locate where your home is losing energy. This way, you can make the necessary upgrades or repairs to rectify the situation and save money on your monthly energy bill over the long haul.

It allows you to forecast your expenses

Most of us are unaware how appliances may be causing a higher energy bill such as an old refrigerator or poorly maintained HVAC. A home energy audit enables you to identify these inconsistencies in your home and budget the necessary finances that are needed to keep your home energy efficient.

An energy audit empowers you to make informed decisions

You can save a lot of money from your utility bill by investing in energy-efficient devices such as those certified by EnergyStar that provide the same performance while using significantly less energy. Just make sure your home is properly insulated first.

You help preserve the planet we call our home

Making more energy-efficient choices not only saves us money but it also helps save the planet. Households that rely on fossil fuels to run are responsible for significant amounts of CO2 emissions which is the primary cause of global warming.

3. Ways To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Once you’re aware of the areas and appliances that need to be upgraded or improved, you can take action to make them more energy efficient. We’re fortunate to be living in an era dominated by technology and innovation that make it easier for all of us to live more efficiently.

Unplug unused devices

Your bill likely contains some phantom loads which is the energy plugged in devices consume even if they are not in use. According to Energy.gov, the average charger consumes 0.26 watts of energy when not in use and 2.24 watts when connected to your phone. Although on its own, it doesn’t matter much, but collectively energy vampires in your household can easily add up to 10% of your energy bill. For example, a plugged in coffee maker consumes as much energy as a LED lightbulb when it’s not in use. If you are worried that it’ll take a while to develop the habit to unplug a device after use, just buy a smart power strip which you can even control from your phone with a simple click.

Do you really need hot water?

According to Treehugger.com, 90% of the energy used by your washer is used to heat the water, with only 10% being used to actually run the thing. Cleaning agents are so powerful these days so they will get the job done with cold water. Warm water might be needed for some stains, but there’s no need for it to be boiling. Showering with cold water or at least switching in between hot and cold will do wonders for your health, stamina and the physical appearance of your skin as it gets the circulation going. Every time you are using cold instead of hot water, you are potentially saving a lot of energy.

Give your thermostat a break

According to Energy.gov, lowering your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees during the working days of the week will save 5% to 15% every year. Try dressing for the occasion by layering up during winter and getting cozy underneath blankets while dressing lightly during hot summer days.

Takeaway – An energy audit will save you money on your monthly energy bill as well as reduce your carbon footprint. An energy audit will pay for itself repay itself through long-term savings as well as by making your home more comfortable, safer and healthier.

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